When it comes to a good Fourth of July party, keeping your costs down isn't too hard, if you know what to focus on. Here are a few ways to make the most of your celebration without spending too much at the checkout counter.
If you can't imagine a summer get-together without some ice cream, you're in luck -- July happens to be National Ice Cream Month. Look out for special sales starting on the first of the month, and keep your eyes open for cost-cutting coupons online and in store circulars.
Of course, there's nothing like a good BBQ at July Fourth parties, but not all meats are good for your budget. Beef is particularly expensive. According to the USDA, prices right now are at an all-time high, up more than 56 percent since 2010 alone. So, try using cheaper cuts like chuck short ribs or beef back ribs.
Another good alternative is to just use chicken, which is not only healthier, it has a lower price per pound. You can also lower your grilling costs by making shish kebabs. With these, you can make a little meat go a long way.
Lastly, don't think of desserts as just after-party sweets. They can do double-duty as decorations, too. Think red, white and blue frosting, or, for an inexpensive delight, bowls of blueberries and raspberries topped with whipped cream.
While we're on the topic of berries, make sure to avoid varieties that aren't in season, which will be more expensive. Instead, use cheaper berries of the same color or simply buy frozen ones, which work just as well.
Those are just a few ways you can free up your budget this Fourth of July. Give them a try, and see the savings for yourself.